Lecheek to add 100 jobs in Harrison as part of $6.7 million expansion

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 251 views 

Lecheek Nutrition announced Friday (Sept. 23) a $6.7 million expansion of its facility in Harrison that could result in 100 news jobs over four years. The company now employs 70 in the area.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson attended the Friday announcement with company officials. Lecheek makes and distributes nutritional supplements typically used by body builders and extreme athletes who seek such so-called “Hardcore Products.”

The expansion in Harrison will allow the company to move into a new 437,000-square-foot building.

“It is my passion to help others in Harrison succeed and bring job opportunities to the town I have lived in for 23 years,” Dustin LeBleu, owner and founder of Lecheek Nutrition, said in a statement. “Coming from a lower income family myself, I truly value and respect our employees and all the leaders that help grow this company on a daily basis. I have also learned so much from my amazing wife Katie who operates two local businesses, and has done so for the last 12 years with great success. This is just the beginning for the company, and our growth will far exceed even our own expectations.”

Lecheek is the only cGMP certified facility in Arkansas to manufacture nutritional supplements, according to the company. Lecheek launched five new products in the past year.

“Lecheek Nutrition’s decision to expand its operations in Harrison speaks volumes about the confidence they have found in the workforce here,” Gov. Hutchinson said in the statement from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. “Today’s expansion announcement completes a great week for Arkansas’ economy. Over the last five days, we’ve announced more than 600 new jobs are coming to the state along with a quarter of a billion dollars in new capital investment. Thanks to Lecheek’s leadership team for setting an example of the success entrepreneurs can find in Arkansas.”

Lecheek Nutrition products can be found at supplement stores and with online retailers. The products are sold in more than 20 countries including Australia, Canada, Mexico, England, Ireland and Poland.

“The City of Harrison is very proud that Lecheek Nutrition chose to build, flourish, and expand their operation,” said Harrison Mayor Dan Sherrell. “They take pride in their company and their products. They also see that our area offers some of the most productive and dedicated employees in the nation.”

Not unlike other companies in the supplement industry, Lecheek has faced issues with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In April 2015 the FDA sent Lecheek and 13 other supplement companies a cease and desist letter on selling products containing a certain synthetic component.

The FDA letter from William Correll, director of the office of Compliance, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, to LeBleu referred to the synthetic ingredients in Lecheek’s AMPilean and AMPitropin products. Lecheek claimed at the time the ingredients were “dietary ingredients.” However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said such classification was not legal because the products are synthetic and have not been proven to be safe for human use.

“We request that you advise us in writing, within 15 days of receipt of this letter, as to the specific steps that have been or will be taken to correct these violations, including any steps taken with respect to product currently in the marketplace,” noted the FDA letter to LeBleu.

Lecheek announced in October 2015 it would no longer produce some products, including AMPilean and AMPitropin.